2018: School’s out Party’s over.

Hi again. I know, I know, 2 posts in one week? Madness!

On New Years Day I like to look back over the past year and think about what has worked, what has not, where things seem to be going and what new things I would like to explore in the coming year. Sometimes sacrifices must be made to allow other things to grow.

So, in order to put more energy into the studio, including some interesting projects that showed great potential for growth in the last year, for 2018 I am discontinuing offering Art Parties,  Art Lessons and Artist’s on a Mission programs.

I guess I’ll have to get new business cards made soon then.

Process: Paintings are grown, not executed.

I was posting some progress images of a wedding portrait I am currently working on to my Facebook page, One Life Fine Art (if you are on Facebook, make sure to like and follow me there), and it occurred to me suddenly that the person for whom I am making the painting could actually be terrified by what they were seeing!

The first phase was the line drawing, the second, a grisaille in chromium oxide green, and the third was the layer where I work out my major colour story (in this case a series of full strength washes of pthalo green, green gold and Quinacridone red/violet mix).

On top of that I will start to refine the forms and paint in details, balancing lights, darks and colour as I go along. To me this seems natural, but to someone who has never seen a painting grow from sketch to finish, they might have assumed the process was something like paint by numbers or colouring books, where each clearly delineated area has its individual colour mixed and applied from left to right, in one go.

I suppose some artists work like that, but my paintings are more like a living thing, layers upon layers built up from the back to the front of the painting (or canvas to picture plane), with each layer growing from the layer beneath.

The major difference is in how preplanned the painting is. Am I merely executing something which already exists fully realized in my head, or am I working with the idea to create something unique to itself?

Working left to right, filling in areas in a planned and orderly fashion is certainly efficient, but doesn’t allow me to take advantage of coincidence or discovery. Knowing that I can’t possibly anticipate every eventuality in the painting, I would rather give myself the opportunity to stop earlier than planned or change things to capitalize on coincidences as they appear. I couldn’t see these coincidences and happy accidents if I were focussing on the orderly filling of areas of colour instead of an organic approach to the image.

So, should you be out there watching my paintings take shape and feel you are on a bit of a rollercoaster ride in terms of progress, never fear, we will arrive safely. You will just have to have a little faith in the process and trust your pilot. In the mean time, sit back and enjoy the ride!

Happy Holidays from the Studio:

Christmas Ornaments, a lesson project painting by Debbie.lee Miszaniec

So it is almost Christmas, and I have been furiously working in the studio finishing paintings for a deadline. I can’t share any of these with you yet, although I already have 6 in the series complete, as I won’t have the time to photograph them until the new year. You will just have to enjoy the suspense!

In the mean time, I thought I would share a few of my teaching plans for the upcoming year with you. Nothing firm yet, I can’t take the time away from the studio to make arrangements or set dates, but I can certainly let you know what to watch out for!

So, for 2016 I will be setting up a few independent workshops for Calgarians who have expressed interest in taking a class with me. There will need to be a minimum registration in order to go ahead, but I am planning on doing a workshop on atmospheric perspective for landscape painters, one on creating a convincing illusion of space for still life painters, and a plein-air painting workshop in Calgary’s Fish Creek Park this year in the late spring or early fall.

Stay tuned for details, and definitely contact me, subscribe to my newsletter, or comment below to express interest in taking one of these workshops. The more interest I get, the more of a priority I will make it!

Learn to Art Introduction

Introducing to a new post category: the Art Lessons category covers further information for art students. It will include tutorials, art history, explain materials and techniques, and announce new and upcoming classes and critiques for registration. As well current students will find information to keep them in the loop on projects, requirements and the status of their upcoming classes.